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Court Shrinks Field of Prince’s Wannabe Heirs

MP900289434A judge is using a combination of genetic testing and common sense in swiftly weeding out some of the wannabes from the real family members, but there may yet be surprises ahead.

Nearly 30 claimants have already been removed from consideration by a Minnesota judge grappling with a large group claiming to be Prince’s heirs. As reported by The Minneapolis Star-Tribune in “Court order sharply narrows Prince's potential heirs,” Carver County Judge Kevin Eides has ordered genetic testing for six family members.

The judge's order requires genetic testing for Prince's sister, Tyka Nelson, and three of his half-siblings: Sharon Nelson, Norrine Nelson and John Nelson. In addition, Judge Eide ordered testing for Brianna Nelson, who claims to be Prince's niece. Also to be tested is potential grand-niece Victoria Nelson. They both say that Briana Nelson's father was Prince's half-brother.

No reason was given as to why Eide didn’t order testing for Omar Baker or Alfred Jackson, who were listed as half-brothers in the original petition to name a special administrator to the estate. However, the judge's order noted that the court was "not aware of any objection or dispute" that all six siblings or half-siblings are legitimate heirs. A DNA test has already eliminated a Colorado prison inmate who said he was Prince's son.

On April 21, Prince died of a drug overdose, and he did not have a will. As a result, the process of figuring out his heirs and distributing his estate is the work of the probate court.

Unless any other potential claimants come forward, Judge Eide's order drastically cuts down the pool of those who may benefit from Prince's estate—which is estimated to be at least $300 million—or gain control of his legacy.

Some of the individuals who were excluded from potential heirship in the probate order are five unidentified people with somewhat dubious arguments that Prince was their biological father. The order also bounces a handful of claimants who alleged that Prince's father was someone other than John L. Nelson, who’s listed in court records as Prince's father. The four siblings or half-siblings of Prince who were ordered to take a DNA test all claim Nelson as their father.

One claimant said that she knew that Prince was her father because of, among other factors, her fascination with Prince and physical similarities. Another is represented by counsel and is considering an appeal.

The takeaway: have a will in place, whether your family situation is simple or complicated, to protect those you love and leave behind. It really is that simple.

Reference: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (July 29, 2016) “Court order sharply narrows Prince's potential heirs”

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